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Making the right material choice for enclosures is a complex task. After all, it demands careful consideration of the environmental conditions, airflow, as well as cable management needs to ensure that the performance goals of this important equipment are met. Stainless Steel is a popular material choice for enclosures since it offers strong stain and corrosion resistance. It also offers strong protection against heat and chemical damage along with corrosion resistance. This makes it well suited for tough applications like mining, coastal regions, etc. However, it has to go through a process of electro-polishing.
Let us deep dive and understand electro-polishing in detail.
What is Electro-polishing?
It is an electrochemical process that removes surface contaminants to smoothen the surface of a metal. It achieves this by de-burring its micro profile without altering the macro shape of the structure. Electro-polishing smoothens the microscopic surface of the stainless steel and ensures that the there is no torn surface. This process is essential since the stainless steel surface is quite irregular owing to the rolling mill process through which stainless steel is manufactured. An irregular surface causes the differential distribution of component materials. This can cause other contaminated particles to get ingrained into the surface of the stainless steel. This, in turn, can impede performance by causing friction, problems in cleaning, and poor corrosion resistance.
With electro-polishing, these surface contaminants are removed effectively to reveal a smooth and passive chromium-rich surface. Mechanical finishing of stainless steel does not yield this result. During the mechanical finishing process, the stainless steel surface can be covered with the polishing compound which can ultimately get trapped in the steel surface, leading to surface contamination. Since the purity of the material is directly proportional to the purity of the surface, it is essential to ensure that surface polishing forms an uninterrupted passive layer.
Electro-polishing addresses these concerns and delivers stainless steel enclosures that are highly corrosion resistant and chromium enriched.
Benefits Of Electro-polishing
Electro-polishing produces the most even and smooth metal surfaces. By this process, films of varying thickness cover the surface in question. This film in the thinnest over micro-projections and the thickest over micro-depressions and the surface of the metal is microscopically featureless without smears and other directionally oriented patterns. Some of the other benefits of electro-polishing stainless steel are as follows:
Greater corrosion resistance
Surface contaminants that emerge due to fabricating and handling of stainless steel degrade the surface conditions and properties of the metal. Abrasive particles that embed themselves within the stainless steel surface during machining, mechanical cutting, and polishing etc. degrade the naturally occurring corrosion resistant oxide layer of stainless steel. This leads to corrosion. With electro-polishing, surface contaminants are removed evenly. This process removes free iron, embedded particles, and inclusions from the metal’s surface. Electro-polishing also improves the chemical composition of the stainless steel surface and positively impacts the atomic ratios of the material alloying components. Problems like crevice corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, microbiologically influenced corrosion, and pitting corrosion can be avoided with electro-polishing.
Better surface finish
Electro-polishing improves the surface area finish by over 50%. This process leads to superior micro finishes that leads to lower friction, easier sanitation, reduced real surface area, improved seals, and better heat and light reflection. This also reduces the concerns of surface distortion or peeling over a period of time.
Ease of cleaning and reduced adhesion
Electro-polishing stainless steel reduces adhesion. This automatically inhibits product build-up that can lead to contamination and ultimately corrosion. With reduced adhesion, the life of the product automatically becomes longer. Additionally, it also makes cleaning easier and more effective since there are no rough and uneven surface areas.
Electro-polishing is great both for polishing and deburring. As electro-polishing is a non-mechanical process, the material removal levels are always within range as compared to grinding, vibration or other such deburring techniques. Since material removal levels impact the critical dimensions of the stainless steel, burr removal has to be done carefully to ensure that these dimensions do not get adversely impacted. Electro-polishing addresses this concern capably. The result is de-burred and highly polished stainless steel surfaces.
That apart, one of the most striking and obvious benefits of electro-polishing is the resultant lustrous surface that this process gives to stainless steel. Since no tools come in contact with the surface of the stainless steel there are no worries of creating directional polishing lines. With electro-polishing, you can be assured that the stainless steel alloys undergoing this process will have a bright chrome-like finish, better than what can be achieved by any other polishing process.
So, it’s time for your enclosures to shine – with electro-polishing!
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